Police Behaving Badly 2.25.15

Cops tase an elderly man with his hands up

While police have been getting a bad wrap all over the country, its things like this that really deserve an explanation.

When you watch the video, it’s really hard to see what caused the police to use a Taser on this elderly man, who exits the car with his hands up. The man was told to exit the vehicle several times, and when he eventually did, one of the cops apparently thought he’d teach this old guy a lesson. “Don’t you know old man to listen to me?” The cop didn’t actually say this, but he might as well have.

It’s very clear on camera, that he exited the car with his hands in the air. 

Not only is this a gross excessive use of force, and an absolute disgrace to police everywhere, but after the elderly man is on the ground, the cop is heard yelling out several times, “stop resisting, stop resisting.” This news site played the video back several times, in disbelief, and the man is already on the ground crying in pain, yet the cop continues to yell this out.

There were a lot of onlookers nearby, so perhaps this was for the cops benefit? 

At the end of the video, the men in uniform notice that they are being filmed, which leads the onlookers to question whether or not they should keep the film rolling.

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Cop slaps homeless person in the face for entering bus terminal

Here’s another example in the War on the Homeless in USAmerica.

A Florida cop has been suspended (with pay) after a video emerged that shows him slapping a homeless man in the face. The cell phone footage shows the officer trying to force the man, identified as Bruce Laclair by the Miami Herald, out of a bus terminal. He grasps Laclair’s arm and pushes him, causing Laclair to lose his balance and fall to the ground, hard. Laclair says (somewhat understandably) “fuck you” to the cop, who spits out, “Relax. I am telling you right now what’s going to happen. I’m escorting you out right now. You are not going to go pee. You are not supposed to be here.”

As Laclair tries to argue the officer slaps him so hard across the face he falls to the ground again (see the video below). The newspaper reports that Laclair was arrested for trespassing. It’s not clear how he managed to pull off trespassing at a bus terminal, but it’s also not surprising, since Florida has led the way in coming up with creative ways to criminalize the activities of homeless people. Multiple cities in the state have established bans on asking for money, sleeping in public and a slew of other innocuous activities that are, in practice, only applied to the homeless. The laws serve as a pretext to help police remove homeless people from certain areas and new ones are cropping up all the time; the recent cold snap hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of Tampa’s public officials for an ordinance prohibiting the use of blankets on the street.

Homeless people are still people. They deserve the same respect and compassion as everyone else. Instead they’re shat upon.

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Cop who killed 93-year-old woman hired by Texas precinct

A former Texas police officer who was fired after shooting a 93-year-old woman is once again working in law enforcement as a “volunteer” deputy.

While serving as a police officer in Hearne last year, Stephen Stem shot and killed 93-year-old Pearlie Golden, who had fired a .38 revolver into the ground.

Prior to that, he had killed 28-year-old Tederalle Satchell in 2012 during a foot chase. Satchell reportedly did not have a weapon when he was shot, but had been carrying one earlier.

Both Golden and Satchell were black, which Stem insisted was unrelated to the shootings. The Wire pointed out that killing two people in less than two years was “a remarkable statistic for a police officer in a small town of fewer than 4,500 people that gets about 10 calls a day.”

Prior to the shootings, Stem had been suspended in 2010 for failing to report an alleged indecency with child incident before going on vacation. He was suspended once more in 2012 for pointing a gun at an innocent bystander.

Robertson County grand juries declined to indict Stem for either killing, but Golden’s death was the last straw for the Hearne Council, which unanimously voted to fire him last May.

When an officer is fired under such circumstances, I don’t think they should be eligible for any law enforcement position in the country.

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 Cop brutally attacks 78-year-old grandma for delivering cupcakes to her grandchildren

78-year-old grandmother Mary Poole was brutally assaulted and pepper-sprayed by a police officer when she attempted to deliver cupcakes to her grandchildren at school.

The children’s parents are in the midst of a divorce and custody battle, so Mary wanted to do something nice for the children. She decided to deliver a gift in a neutral setting.

“I hadn’t seen my granddaughters for some time and I wanted to see them, and so I baked some cupcakes and bought some cookies for my granddaughters’ classroom,” Mary said.

When she arrived at the school she was met by a rude Clovis Unified police officer who told her that she was not allowed to visit the children because there was a restraining order against her. In reality, there was no restraining order against her and no legal reason to keep her out of the school.

The officer was either lying or was totally mistaken about the situation.

Mary obeyed the officer and left the school. She then pulled over to call her son and tell him what happened. While she was on the phone, she was again approached by the officer who became immediately confrontational. As with most police encounters, he refused to hear any explanation that she attempted to give him, but instead demanded immediate obedience.

When she tried to explain her situation, the officer became violent with her. Next he pepper-sprayed the woman in the face twice during the confrontation, as she was struggling to free herself from the attack. The officer must have seen her struggling for safety as a sign of resistance.

“He wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say, period. Every time I tried telling him anything…I mean, I was even telling him, ‘I’m 78 years old,’ before he grabbed me. He sprayed me with mace twice,” Mary told reporters.

“And I was very frightened, and I told him to call the police and he said, ‘I am the police. He jerked me out of my car with my left arm with such great force, and then threw me onto the pavement. From there he dragged me by my left arm up to the school grounds,” she said.

The officer’s attack left Mary seriously injured with several broken bones and a dislocated shoulder.

When all was said and done Mary was taken to the hospital and left with more than $180,000 in medical bills.

Mary Poole filed a lawsuit this week, alleging police brutality and elderly abuse.

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Cop who illegally kidnapped and beat down syndrome man says he would do it again if he could

Martinez was walking to his family’s bakery on Dec. 20, 2012, when Guy yelled at him to stop, simply because the young man was wearing a black hoodie.  When Martinez did not stop, Deputy Guy became angry at him for “exercising his constitutional right not to stop for a consensual detention,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit states that the deputy “looked Tony in the face and then unloaded a canister of highly irritating pepper spray into Tony’s face and eyes,” beat him with a weighted baton, slammed his face into the pavement and cuffed him.  While the beating was taking place, Martinez’ sisters were screaming at the officer that their brother has down syndrome, unsuccessfully attempting to appeal to the officer’s humanity- something that he clearly lacks.

After Martinez was handcuffed, other deputies jumped in, and Martinez was taken to the hospital, detained, and then jailed for 5 hours- he was essentially kidnapped.  He was charged with resisting arrest, despite the fact that there was no reason to stop him in the first place.  Deputy guy testified that this was necessary to “document” the incident.

The family is proceeding with a lawsuit, as the department refused to comply with all three of the family’s simple demands to settle this outside of a courtroom. The family only wanted the department to apologize, release their policy on dealing with the mentally disabled, and have Deputy Guy volunteer for the Special Olympics.

Perhaps the reason Capt. Joe Rodi refused to release their policy, is the fact that there is no policy, and they are breaking California law.  As ABC pointed out:

California law states law enforcement must be trained to interact with mentally disabled people.

Under Penal Code 13515.25,

(a) By July 1, 2006, the Commission on Peach Officer Standards and Training shall establish and keep updated a continuing education classroom training course relating to law enforcement interaction with mentally disabled persons.

Basile questioned Guy and Capt. Joe Rodi under oath in a deposition.

“Are the officers required to have that training before they go out in the field,” asked Basile.
“No, this is something that’s fairly new,” said Rodi.

That law is eleven years old – passed in 2004 to be implemented by 2006.

“You’ve never had any classes in development disabilities, correct,” asked Basile.
“Yes,” said Guy.

The law breaking Captain of the department admitted that Guy had broken the law by even confronting Martinez on that tragic day.

“He did not have reasonable suspicion to stop and use force on him,” said Captain Rodi under oath in a newly released video deposition.

Looks like the only person who was not breaking the law in this scenario was Martinez.

To make this whole scenario even more infuriating, Guy had a history of use of force issue at his former department where he was employed for eight years.  He had only been with the San Diego Sheriff’s department for four months when he assaulted Martinez, and was still in the midst of his probationary period.

Police Behaving Badly 2.25.15